The Warsaw Pact

On 14 May 1955, in the Namiestnikov Palace in Warsaw, representatives of the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, Albania, Hungary, the GDR and Czechoslovakia established the Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance Agreement known as the Warsaw Pact.

Officially, this was a response to the NATO pact in 1949. In fact, it was a tool to control the Communist USSR over the satellite countries called ‘Demoludy’ in Poland.

NATO vs Warsaw Pact
NATO vs Warsaw Pact

It was concluded for 20 years and then extended every decade. The first commander of this organization, grouping the armies of eight countries of the communist bloc, was Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev.

The political body of Warsaw Pact was the Political Advisory Committee. It was composed of prime ministers of the governments of the Member States, foreign and defence ministers and leaders of political parties. The committee's task was to develop uniform views on a common strategy against political and military threats.

The most important military body was the Committee of Ministers of Defence.

The Warsaw Pact was compromised by brutal interference in the internal affairs of the member states - in Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

Czechosłowacja 1968
Czechosłowacja 1968. Source: PAP/CTK

In the Warsaw Pact, only the Soviet Army had nuclear weapons.

At the time of the Agreement's creation, it had 200 nuclear bombs; at that time NATO had 3067 such cargoes. Nuclear weapons were deployed in several Warsaw Pact countries, among others in the GDR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania.

In 1990 the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact consisted of over 3.5 million people, including 347,000 soldiers of the Polish Army, which was the most numerous, after the Red Army, force of the Pact.

For comparison, the combined armed forces of NATO members in 1991 consisted of 5.2 million soldiers.

On March 31, 1991, on the basis of a protocol signed in February in Budapest, the military structures of the Warsaw Pact were dissolved.

The liquidation of the Warsaw Pact resulted from political changes in Eastern European countries.

At the summit in Bucharest in 1989 it was decided to abandon the Brezhnev doctrine.

After the changes in 1989-1990, Member States decided that the Soviet troops stationed in the Agreement countries should leave their territory.

On 31 March 1991, military cooperation within the framework of the Agreement was discontinued and on 1 July 1991 the political structures in Prague were dissolved.

This meant the final liquidation of the Warsaw Pact.

The last wagons with the Soviet army left Poland in 1993.

USSR Army leaving Poland
USSR Army leaving Poland, source: PAP/J.Undro

Poland, together with Hungary and the Czech Republic, joined NATO on 12 March 1999.

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